I Love Linen

I Love Linen

I’ve just returned to Stockholm after 10 beautiful days in Palermo, Sicily and I feel like I left summer behind. It’s not that the weather isn’t beautiful in Stockholm–it’s only 6:15 AM as I write this and it’s a sunny, cloud-free day and already closing in 20C (68F for you Americans). 🙂 But when you’ve been spoiled with Sicilian heat and waking up to 26C (79F) in the morning and 30C (86F) by 10AM, a mild Swedish summer morning feels winter has come back.

Before I left for Sicily, I treated myself to a few things to help spiff up my vacation wardrobe…and then I decided to pack light and left most of it at home. I hate heavy suitcases. I limited myself to 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of linen pants, and then the usual amount of undies. My plan was to wash clothes every few days. This is what I usually do when we have an Airbnb rental.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I ended up picking up two of these linen-blend t-shirts: one in white and another in blue-grey. They were my staples while I was in Palermo. They worked with everything from dressy linen pants to jeans to my favourite faded (and old) olive-green twill shorts from Lands End. Since we were travelling light and the apartment we rented didn’t have a washing machine, it meant a lot of washing things in the kitchen or bathroom sink and hanging on coat hangers out on the balcony to dry.

Both shirts held up well.

I only wish I’d ordered more–now the blue one is sold out. I think I’ll order 2 or 3 more of the white one before it too sells out. These could come in handy when I head to Philly in August–and we know East Coast summers are hot, humid and sticky. I need shirts that can keep me from feeling blech and this one definitely fit the bill while I was in Palermo. 🙂

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I spent most of my time in shorts–the hubster and I are not fashion plates, nor do we really care if everyone else makes themselves look spiffy for la passeggiata–we wanted to be comfortable and relax without having to stress over what to wear. I found these cute linen shorts just a few days before we left for Palermo. At first, I was worried they’d be too short. I will admit that my thighs are nowhere near as firm as they used to be. I don’t count myself as a gym bunny or a fitness girl so thigh gap is not something I give a hoot about. But even back in the day when I still went to the gym 5 days a week, I never had thigh gap and, despite having super-firm legs back then, I hated really short shorts. Well, these were just the right length and–since they’re linen–super comfy on even the hottest days while we were in Sicily.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

The last thing I packed, but never actually wore, was a linen shirtdress.

I’m not someone who wears dresses often–I usually hate wearing them because they either look…wrong on me…or just feel so damned uncomfortable. This one is a joy to wear. I am so glad that H&M (unlike a lot of other brands) realised that we curvy girls like cute shirtdresses too.

True confessions: I ended up not wearing it at all. No, it was not because it didn’t look good on me (it looks great on me! Yay!). I honestly thought I would wear it in the evenings. I had these grand ideas we’d go to a fancy restaurant or three, but we ended up going to more casual restaurants while we were in Palermo, so it was easy to stay in shorts and a t-shirt.

But this dress will NOT go to waste. 🙂

I’ve got a book signing in New York in August, so I think I will wear this dress, another H&M find, while I am there. I have the feeling I will wear it a lot to work now in June and July. It’s so cute. 🙂 It will look great with Chuck Taylors or cute sandals.

I would love to say that my linen obsession has abated…but that would be a lie. I’ve ordered a linen tunic + some linen pants and they’ll be waiting for me in Philly. Someone take my credit card away. 😉

Are you a fan of linen? What’s your favourite go-to outfit for summer vacations?

 

 

 

Why dress like a Parisian when I can dress like me? Five wardrobe items I love!

Why dress like a Parisian when I can dress like me? Five wardrobe items I love!

I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Always have been, probably always will be. But there is this part of me that wishes I could be more put-together. You know–like all those stylish Scandinavian girls I see everyday or those über-effortlessly chic French girls we hear about all the time. Every now and then I tell myself that I will do as they do: stop eating carbs, do Bikram yoga and get manis/pedis every week. And then I laugh and have another glass of wine or a pastry and don’t bother spending time putting together outfits.

Photo credit: thestore.com

So chic…and yet…it would require far too much planning and too few carbs. Photo credit: thestore.com

My closet is overflowing with clothing bought on a whim and yet very few items actually speak to me or scream, “Wear me!” And I end up back in my t-shirt and jeans. Or my sweater and jeans–depending on the season.

But I do know there are five items that I wear fairly often and that I love. So I may never be as chic as a Parisian or as on-trend as so many of these Stockholm girls, but I can feel comfortable in my own skin and really that is what is most important.

Girlfriend jeans from H&M+.

Girlfriend jeans from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

My favourite jeans

I may love my skinny jeans, but sometimes what I want are a pair of slim-cut jeans that don’t feel super-tight. These girlfriend jeans from H&M+ fit perfectly without having too low of a rise or squeezing my thighs like sausage casing. I love these jeans. I love them so much that I bought four pairs that I rotate. I am going to buy one more pair just in case.

My only complaint is that H&M seems to think we only want black jeans. I would love to have these in indigo and stonewash…and why not white for summer?

I can’t be the only woman who loves these jeans. I think I will send H&M another email suggesting more shades…:)

Sooner or later they will listen to me, right?

 

I love stripes! Striped boatneck sweater from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

I love stripes! Striped boatneck sweater from H&M+. Photo credit: hm.com.

A stripey, boatneck sweater

I love stripes. I own far too many pairs of striped socks. I also love boatneck sweaters. Well, I love sweaters. Period. And this one, another gem from H&M+, has been a staple of my autumn/winter wardrobe. I usually wear my favourite white t-shirt under it. This sweater looks great with jeans, leggings, joggers, you name it.

I wear it at least once or twice a week. My colleagues must wonder if I don’t own any other sweaters…but this is one of my favourites. I will cry the day it goes to sweater heaven. It’s just so cozy and so easy to wear. And I like easy. I hate clothing that feels overly fussy or that is more trouble than it’s worth to wear. If it requires I wear Spanx just to look good in it, then it isn’t in my closet. And this sweater just looks good. No Spanx needed.

 

A new type of hightop sneaker

Soft 7 hightop sneakers from Ecco. So comfy!  Photo credit: ECCO.com.

Soft 7 hightop sneakers from Ecco. So comfy! Photo credit: ECCO.com.

A few years ago, I tore a ligament in my left foot. Even though it’s healed, it has affected which sort of shoes I can wear nowadays. High heels are no longer part of my shoedrobe (even though I still drool over them) and shoes that are too flat can also be a bit annoying. So as much as I love my Converses (and who doesn’t love Chucks???), these  Soft 7 high tops from ECCO are more comfortable and I like the look of them.

It took a day or two to break them in, but now they are like butter.

 

A vee-neck t-shirt? Yup! Photo credit: hm.com.

A vee-neck t-shirt? Yup! Photo credit: hm.com.

Vee-neck t-shirts are never wrong

I already told you I was a t-shirt kind of girl and I own this t-shirt in grey, white, black and rose. Whenever H&M+ offers it in a new shade, I buy it. Why? Because it doesn’t cling and it looks great and I can wear it under my favourite sweaters or as it is.

I think they used to make it in a long sleeve model, but now it’s only available as a short sleeve tee, which is fine. I wish they’d make it in olive green or red…that would make my day. Maybe another email hinting at more shades?

Hey…isn’t the customer always right? 😉 And–admit it–that t-shirt would look great in red.

 

Striped socks! Another obsession! Photo credit: happysocks.com.

Striped socks! Another obsession! Photo credit: happysocks.com.

You can never have too many pairs of socks

Did I mention I have a thing about stripes? I love striped socks. I probably own too many pairs of striped socks, but I don’t care. They’re my thing. And socks are important. They should be soft. They should not glide down under your heel–which is annoying. They should not get holes in them the very first day you wear them. They should just…work.

I don’t really care which brand of socks I wear–as long as they are comfortable. When I am in the US, I stock up on socks since I can often find striped socks there in a multitude of colors. In Sweden, I am usually limited to black-and-white…unless I turn to Happy Socks or Bleuforêt.

 

So simple! I don’t even have to waste any time worrying about if this matches that or if it makes my ass look big (it’s big anyway, so who cares?) or whatever. I get dressed, I go. I’m comfortable. I feel like me and I can focus on other things–like which books I should get for my Kindle or if I should write another story about the delectable Mads. So much more important than pretending to be a French girl. I’ve already started clearing out my closet and donating all the clothes I don’t really like to charity.

Someone else will get more use out of them. I will stick to my staples.